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Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Friday, April 06, 2012


We have to pay for drains that we don't have in Culebrón. Fair enough really. We don't have children either but we're happy to pay tax towards the schools. So we have a pit. I've never known whether it's a pure cess pit or a septic tank. I don't really know what the difference is, apart from having the vague notion that a septic tank produces clean water to drain away. It would be easy to find out. Google knows everything but I have different things to do with my time.

The bathroom off our bedroom smells a bit. As we used to say in the 60s it pongs. Then again the two flats in Santa Pola and the one in Ciudad Rodrigo whiffed a bit at times too. I've been told that it's something to do with Spanish toilets having a different, and less efficient, trap design than their UK equivalents. So sligtly more aromatic toilets are a fact of life in Spain.

Maggie had some sort of concern about our tank because the shower she uses isn't draining as well as it did and she wondered if there was a damp patch on the garage floor. So we opened up the pit and had a nosey the other day. It looked like the mud you get in a river estuary - oozy and shiny.

Anyway, so Maggie did a bit of Googling. The search engine told us what a couple of locals have said before. If things begin to smell a bit hurling a supermarket chicken or some roadkill into the pit can help. We've always stuck to the more genteel and commercially available yeast and sugar mixes which do the same thing by helping the beasts that do the digesting to multiply. They also told us what we already knew that the kinder you are to the beasts - less bleach, no oils, less paper etc. - the longer the tanks can go without needing pumping out. The big surprise though was that, apparently you are supposed to have the pits sucked dry every year. We haven't done anything to ours for seven years.

Whoops - fun to come then.

1 comment:

Lonicera said...

Your post has made me laugh. My parents retired to an urbanización near Valencia for the last 15 years of their lives, and they had the usual pozo negro, which was emptied every year (a dramatic looking process by the way, but quite painless, since somebody else does the job). My father was always obsessed with the PN filling up too quickly because of "you women, always washing and flushing", and to our great embarrassment would warn disconcerted guests who thought they were safe in the loo by calling through the locked door that they shouldn't use too much water because the pozo negro would fill up and that he thought it was very near the top (rubbish, he always said that). As in your photo, he was always lifting the lid and peering anxiously inside with wrinkled nose.
Thanks for reminding me, it's really made me smile today.
I enjoy your blog - wish you posted more often!